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56

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - The Roman Emperors in Marble - 3. Caligula

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$6 ROMAN DA YS.
never ripened into so much humanity that pangs of con.
science were possible for him. Once, when his grand-
mother Antonia ventured to reproach him with some
crime, she met a pair of astonished eyes and the answer:
" Have you then forgotten that to me everything is
allowed?’^ What a child can do, and is not forbidden
to do, it is allowed to do. His very conception of
majesty was a companion picture to that of the nursery,
where Bugaboo forms the sublime and terrible. He was
observed practising before a mirror the most frightful
faces, that he might appear as beseemed an arbiter of
life and death.
Caligula had sleepless nights ; but those one may
have, without a diseased conscience. The cause was
rather an imagination, in the mire of which monsters
and abominations wallowed, awaiting the hour when they
should become deeds. He could never quite recover
from astonishment at the breadth of his power, and
rejoiced the more in its immensity, the farther he went
beyond the limits that a law within us has drawn for
masters of the law without. In the absence of contrary
pressure, his will sweated blood, as the human body
does in the absence of atmospheric pressure. Often the
watchmen saw him wandering by starlight and moon-
light in the wide-stretching colonnades of the palace, or
upon the bridge over the Forum Romanum. With what
were his thoughts then busied? Commonly with wild
bits of eloquence, that next day struck terror into the
senate. Before he began such a speech, he commonly
liked to send out in advance the words :
" I draw the
sword of my nocturnal studies." Especially it pleased him
to speak in defence of criminals and for the overthrow of
the innocent, for his legal talent thus appeared the greater,

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